Turtles that stay small – A brief overview

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Written By Sarah Johnson

A lifelong pet owner and enthusiast. Has rescued and cared for several pets over the years

Turtles are an excellent option for pet owners. They’re easy to care for, and watching them grow from tiny hatchlings into full-grown adults is exciting. But some turtles grow bigger than others! If you’re looking for a smaller turtle, there are many options out there that remain small throughout their lives.

Some of these turtles are even less than a foot long. If you’re looking for a pet that doesn’t take up too much space and won’t be too expensive to feed, consider one of the following tiny turtles!

Mud Turtles

Mud Turtles are among the most popular turtles for beginners and are also known as red-eared sliders. These little guys stay small, so you don’t have to worry about them taking over your home! They can be kept in an aquarium or tub but don’t require much space. Mud Turtles are easy to care for and will eat various foods such as vegetables and worms.

They’re also docile and won’t attack you if you put your hand in the tank. The downside is that they aren’t very active or fun to watch as they swim around.

Musk Turtle

The musk turtle is one of the smallest aquatic turtles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one as a pet. They are straightforward to care for and will remain small throughout their life span (10-20 years). Musk turtles don’t grow too large, so if you’re looking for something small and cute that doesn’t require much space or maintenance, this might be your best bet!

Musk turtles are docile and not aggressive towards humans or other animals; however, owners should still exercise caution when handling any animal due to possible allergies or bites from sharp nails/claws.

African Sideneck Turtle

African Sideneck Turtles are tiny and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginners. They’re also very friendly with people, so it’s fun to watch your kids interact with their new pet!

African Sideneck Turtles are native to Africa and can grow up to 8 inches long. Their shells are brown with black spots or stripes, and they have a thin neck that makes their head look enormous compared to their body size. These turtles make good pets because they’re not aggressive toward humans or other animals–in fact, they’ll usually try to avoid confrontation at all costs!

Reeve’s Turtle

Reeve’s turtles are a small species of turtle that is native to the southern United States. They have a carapace that can range from 4-6 inches long, with females being slightly larger than males. These turtles are omnivores, meaning they eat plants and meat, making them a good choice for first-time turtle owners.

These turtles are primarily aquatic and prefer to spend most of their time in a pond or tank. They are also terrestrial, meaning they can come out of the water to bask in the sun.

Red-Eared Slider Turtle

The Red Eared Slider Turtle is one of the most popular pet turtles. They are easy to care for and generally do not require much attention. They also have a lifespan of up to 20 years, which makes them a good choice if you’re looking for something that will last a long time.

These turtles are active but not too busy–they don’t need special lighting or heating requirements like some other turtle species; they can live in an aquarium with just regular fluorescent lights on top (or none at all). They don’t get as big as some other species (only reaching about 8 inches), so they can fit nicely into almost any home environment without taking up too much space!

Diamondback Terrapins

Diamondback terrapins are freshwater turtles that can live up to 40 years.

They are popular as pets and can be kept in aquariums or ponds.

Diamondback Terrapins are omnivores and will eat small fish, insects, worms, and plants. They aren’t very active or vocal, so that they won’t need much space in your home!

Bog Turtle

Bog turtles are tiny, but they’re still turtles. They’re about 8 inches long and have a brown shell with yellow spots. Bog turtles live in the eastern part of the United States (from Maine to Florida) and can be found in marshes and swamps.

They are one of the only turtle species living in brackish water (a mixture of fresh and saltwater). Bog turtles live on land, but they can swim if needed. They eat plants, insects, worms, and other small animals.

The Desert Box

These turtles are small, easy to care for, and suitable for children. They can live in a small tank and make excellent indoor pets for first-time owners.

The Desert Box Turtle is one of the most popular species of box turtle because it’s so tiny (only about 4 inches long). It’s also one of the easiest species to care for since they don’t need much space or special lighting requirements like some other types of turtles do–make sure that you provide your desert box with plenty of heat during colder months if you live in an area where temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit!

Florida Softshell Turtle

The Florida Softshell Turtle is a small turtle native to the southeastern United States. It is also known as the Florida Softshell Turtle and can reach up to 10 inches in length. The name “softshell” comes from their soft shell, making them easy to care for and handle compared with other turtles. This species makes an excellent pet for beginners because they are so easygoing, but they still require some attention to ensure they are healthy enough for you or your child’s first pet turtle!

Yellow-Bellied Slider

Yellow-Bellied Sliders are tiny turtles that stay small. They are easy to care for, popular pets, and suitable for children. You can keep them in a 10-gallon tank or, more significantly, if you have the room.

-The Red-Eared Slider is a famous pet turtle. They are easy to care for and suitable for children. If you have the room, you can keep them in a 10-gallon tank or more significant.

Razorback Musk Turtle

Razorback Musk Turtles are tiny aquatic turtles found in the Southeastern United States. They’re also known as musk turtles because they produce a foul-smelling secretion from glands under their tails when threatened. This is intended to deter predators and may also be used to mark territory.

Razorback musk turtles are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals (meat). Their diet typically consists of worms, insects, snails, and other invertebrates; however, they will occasionally eat plant matter such as algae or fallen fruit if available.

A typical adult razorback musk turtle measures between 3 – 4 inches long (8 – 10 cm), with males slightly larger than females on average. You should keep one male per female if you plan on breeding them because males can become territorial if there aren’t enough females around for them all at once!

Spotted Turtles

The spotted turtle is small but can grow up to 6 inches in length. It is very social and should be kept in pairs or groups of three or more. The spotted turtle is omnivorous, so it will eat plants and insects. This species is found in the Eastern United States, where it can be found in streams and rivers. Your turtle tank must have plenty of plants to hide under and rocks and logs for them to climb on. You should also make sure that you provide your turtle with a basking area, which is the place where they will bask in the sun. The best way to do this is to use a lamp designed for reptiles, emitting UVA rays that help them metabolize calcium.

An Overview of Small Pet Turtles

Tiny pet turtles are easier to care for, less expensive, and require less space than larger species. They are also much more likely to be in good health since they’re not being kept in overcrowded conditions or sold by a breeder who doesn’t have time for proper care.

Smaller turtles are much easier to handle than their larger counterparts, making them ideal for people who aren’t sure about owning a pet turtle yet but want something more interactive than an aquarium fish tank. The smaller size also makes it less likely that your little one will bite when you try to pick him up!

Why You Might Not Want a Small Turtle

There are many reasons why you might not want a small turtle.

They’re harder to find. Smaller turtles are rare, so if you’re looking for specific species or color morphs, your options may be limited. If you want a cool-looking pet and don’t care about the species or coloration of your shelly friend, then this won’t matter much–, but it’s something to keep in mind if your heart is set on finding a particular kind of turtle.

They’re harder to keep. Smaller turtles tend to be less hardy than larger ones; they have smaller shells (which means less protection from predators), lower metabolism rates (so they need less food), and thinner skin that doesn’t protect them against infection as well as more giant reptiles do! As such, it’s generally recommended that owners provide extra care when housing these little guys: additional heat sources during cold weather months; UVB lighting year-round (or at least 12 hours per day); regular visits from an experienced veterinarian who specializes in exotic pets like reptiles & amphibians rather than just dogs & cats; etcetera ad nauseam…


With so many options, deciding which turtle is right for you can be difficult. If you’re looking for a small pet that can live in an aquarium and doesn’t need much care, then our top pick is the Red Eared Slider Turtle. This species is easy to care for and makes a great starter pet for those who want something with more personality than a fish but less work than other types of reptiles or amphibians!


What are the best small pet turtles?

Some of the best small pet turtles include species like the Russian Tortoise, Hermann’s Tortoise, Spotted Turtle, and Musk Turtle. These species typically grow to be no larger than 10-12 inches in length.

How can I make sure my small turtle stays small?

Small pet turtles can be kept small by providing them with the right environment and diet. Proper housing, temperature, and lighting conditions can help regulate their growth, as can feeding them a balanced diet without over-supplementing them. It’s also important to keep the size of their living space in proportion to their size to help regulate their growth.

What are the potential dangers of owning a small pet turtle?

Like any pet, there are potential dangers associated with owning a small pet turtle. Some of the most common risks include disease transmission, bites, and salmonella. It’s important to research the species you are interested in and understand their specific needs and potential dangers before bringing one into your home.